Thursday, December 18, 2014
December 18: The first land-speed record was set by an electric car on this date in 1898
The first vehicle to ever turn a wheel in France was powered by electricity and the mind of engineer Charles Jeantaud, who paired the then-new inventions of plate alkaline batteries and electric motors to build a series of electric cars.
On this date in 1898, Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat took his Jeantaud at top speed over a one-kilometer strip during an exhibition arranged by a French magazine, hitting an average speed of 39 mph — the first land-speed record.
The feat earned Chasseloup-Laubat the name "The Electric Count," along with a challenge from a Belgian competitor with which he would swap the land speed record several times over the following months. Here's what a current electric land-speed record holder looks and sounds like: